University at Buffalo students take second in national cybersecurity competition

UB take second in Collegiate Pentesting Competition.

From left, Bhagwat, Fiebelkorn, Geist, Murray, Mazzei, Brase and Droste.

Release Date: November 16, 2016 This content is archived.

“This experience was extensive and challenging, requiring us to explore a hospital network — without disrupting critical patient care systems. ”
Jered Geist, MBA Student and Winning Team Member
University at Buffalo School of Management

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Six University at Buffalo management and computer science students won second place in the national Collegiate Pentesting Competition, a cybersecurity challenge held Nov. 4-6 at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

The team was made up of UB School of Management students Aaron Fiebelkorn and Jered Geist of Amherst and Alexandra Mazzei of Niagara Falls, as well as UB Computer Science and Engineering Department students Tanmay Bhagwat of Amherst, Nick Brase of Watertown and James Droste of Nanuet.

Each member of the UB team received a $500 prize and trophy. The squad was also recognized for the second consecutive year for being the most professional team in the competition, for which each team member received a Raspberry Pi Zero.

“This competition is experiential learning at its finest,” says David Murray, clinical associate professor of management science and systems, who served as the team’s faculty coach. “The students put their technical, business and communication skills to the test with a realistic scenario, and have the chance to learn from industry experts.”

About three weeks before the competition, teams received a request for proposal from a fictitious hospital, asking them to review the organization’s network to identify vulnerabilities and prioritize a plan to address the most pressing issues. The team submitted a written proposal explaining the tests they would perform to detect risks to the organization’s internal and public networks, research environment and patient service portal.

At the competition, the teams reviewed their proposal with hospital management, performed a series of penetration tests, analyzed the results and presented a final report to the judging panel.

“This experience was extensive and challenging, requiring us to explore a hospital network — without disrupting critical patient care systems,” says Geist, a first-year MBA student in the UB School of Management. “I hope to enter the aerospace or cyber-risk field, where a blend of the consulting, business and technical skills I used during this competition will be critical for success.”

A team from the University of Central Florida captured first in the competition. Other teams hailed from California State Polytechnic University Pomona, City College of San Francisco, Pennsylvania State, RIT, Tennessee Technological University, University of Maine, University of New Haven and University of Texas at San Antonio.

Several of the UB students participate in the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program, supported by the National Science Foundation.

The UB School of Management is recognized for its emphasis on real-world learning, community and economic impact, and the global perspective of its faculty, students and alumni. The school also has been ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes and U.S. News & World Report for the quality of its programs and the return on investment it provides its graduates. For more information about the UB School of Management, visit

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Matthew Biddle
Assistant Director of Communications
School of Management